The Christian of the future will be a mystic or he will not exist at all.’ Karl Rhaner
Religion can sometimes be a hostile environment for those who discover there a god who is controlling, judging and demanding adherence to a strict set of rules. This god is usually very remote from us, often up there in a geographical heaven and he (for this god is always a he) usually induces in us such guilt that it is often easier to walk away than to carry such a burden.
It always surprises me that 2000 years on from Christ’s coming (the very event that was supposed to lift us out of the bleakness of the remote god consciousness) that so many are still oppressed by it and struggle to live the abundant life that God intends for us.
Luke 17:21 tells us that God’s kingdom is not a geographical location at all but that it is within us. Some translations will say that it is among us and both would be right, but in my experience we have to discover it within us in order to know it among us. You see, the Kingdom of God is a state of consciousness that we have to wake up to. It is all around us and within us (that is all of us) yet hidden from sight, we have to awaken to its presence to recognise it. So often we sleepwalk through life to the extent that we have never begun to question who we really are or why the remote god bears absolutely no resemblance at all to the God that Christ came to share with us.
Christian mystics all through the ages would tell us that there is, deep within us, a hidden place untouched by this world, where God’s ground and our ground meets. If we could but awaken to the awareness of this ground we would begin to discover the presence of God within and among us. God… immanent…fully present…in the very depths of our being and in all creation. This is not to say that God isn’t also transcendent, the creator of all being, but that’s for another post.
For the Christian mystic the desire is to offer hospitality to this hidden, divine presence that it might blossom and grow and merge with the soul and in that sweet fusion the fullness of life that God intended for us is realised.
Jesus gives us the key to creating an inner space where we offer God our hospitality, as follows;
• Love God before all else.
• Love neighbour as self.
• Forgive and…go on forgiving.
• Hold no grudges.
• Let go of your pride …humility is the most hospitable environment your soul can offer to God.
• Be thankful in all circumstances .God’s generosity is truly beyond your comprehension.
• Give generously without counting the cost.
These were never meant to be a set of behavioural or moralistic rules to be adhered to for fear of God, these are a natural part of the soul’s blossoming when it chooses to respond to the ever present God.
Oh, and one other thing. Jesus was forever encouraging us to wake up..advice that is central to the contemplative path.
The kingdom of God is closer to you than you are to yourself. Just turn your attention inwards and allow that mystic impulse to guide you. It won’t be the easiest path you have ever travelled but it is the way to heaven on earth.